Lawyers in our firm are currently handling several cases that underscore how important it is to maintain a safe workplace, including the machinery that workers use every day. In the first case, Mike Andrews represents the child of a man who was killed while working at a home improvement business. His job was to deliver appliances and pick up used appliances to return to the store. Unfortunately, the parking brake on the heavy truck he was using had not been properly adjusted and did not function. When the worker backed the truck up to an empty trailer to transfer a used appliance, the parking brake failed and the truck rolled backward and crushed him between the truck and trailer. Our subsequent inspection revealed that the brake was grossly out of adjustment and failed to stop the truck from moving.
In another workplace case, our firm represents a man who was employed by Amerigas to drive a liquid propane truck. His job was to refill smaller tanks used at various businesses around Atlanta; one part of his job required that he refill tanks used to power forklifts and floor cleaning equipment. While he was engaged in refilling a tank, the handle and nozzle attached to the propane truck malfunctioned, allowing a large amount of propane to be sprayed onto him and into the surrounding air. The propane then ignited and exploded into a large fireball, burning our client severely over his face and arms. The entire incident was captured on a store video surveillance system, and after weeks in the hospital, he is still undergoing grafting and medical care to treat his severe burns. Our subsequent inspection revealed that an alternative nozzle design is available that will prevent gas from escaping unless the nozzle is properly attached to a tank.
Finally, we represent the family of a man who was employed to assist in rebuilding levees just outside New Orleans. As part of the rebuilding project, 40 foot steel beams were being driven into the ground to provide the support structure for the new stronger levee. Our client’s father was using a large excavator equipped with a hydraulic pile-driver to drive the beams into the ground when the 15,000 pound pile-driver hammer fell out of its cage (attached to the arm of the excavator) and crashed onto the roof of the excavator, crushing and killing him. We have learned that the hammer and cage were manufactured by American Piledriving Equipment (APE). APE rented the equipment to the employer for use on the levee project. The pile-driver cage apparently lacked safety devices or cables to prevent the hammer from falling free. Had it been properly equipped, this tragic incident would have been prevented.
In each of these three cases, injuries and deaths would have been prevented if workplace equipment had been properly designed, installed and/or maintained. Each of the cases is in its initial stages, but our lawyers are working hard and look forward to presenting each case to a jury. If you need more information on workplace injuries, contact Mike Andrews, a lawyer who has handled a great number of these cases, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Mike.Andrews@beasleyallen.com.
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